Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Night Noises and Newbery Buzz

Poetry explodes across the imagination like fireworks across a dark summer sky. Fireworks fade. Poetry changes lives.

DARK EMPEROR & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen, Houghton Mifflin, 2010

Here’s a book that’s perfect for reading on a summer night, whether you are reading to yourself or aloud to a young listener, or even sharing each page, like a piece of hoarded dark chocolate, with your entire family. Your setting for this read-aloud should be a porch swing or a screened porch, so all the sounds of the night can accompany your voice. Why am I blogging about this book now when so much of the country is digging out from holiday snows? The
Newbery discussion is on. When asked to name favorites for this prize that will be awarded on January 10, Dark Emperor comes up, again and again.

Young people are discovering poetry, the pace and rhythm of words and phrases, syllables that slide, slither, or soar. Both boys and girls are filled with questions. Always. Pair poetry with information and add illustrations that match the depths of the text. Voila! You have Dark Emperor and a whole community of readers is abuzz with discussion.

Poet Joyce Sidman says she has always loved the concept of nighttime. ...”there are all sorts of creatures that prefer the night and thrive in the dark. Why? And how?” Dark Emperor is her exploration of those questions.

Poetic introductions to unsung critters that often sing tunes of their own are accompanied by sidebars that add eye-popping information. Who knew baby porcupines are called porcupettes? Or that Mama Porcupine keeps her babies happy with treats of raspberry leaves?

Sidman’s books have already won Caldecott Honors, including Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems and Red Sings From Treetops.March 25 Book Log!

See Sidman’s website and
enjoy the night sounds on the trailer for Dark Emperor.


For more information about the Newbery, see the website for the American Library Association!

Do you have favorites in this year's Newbery hunt?

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